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A bourgeois family slowly comes apart at the seams.


A stellar cast was gathered for this ensemble piece, which opened Cannes in 2005 and then vanished for 18 months.

Ostensibly the story of a bourgeois family falling apart, it branches out to envelop an overly zealous social worker (Rhys Ifans), a prostitute (Penélope Cruz) and a gay friend (Ralph Fiennes) - all of whom may have their parts to play, but serve to dilute an already diffuse story.

The best reason to watch it is Kristin Scott Thomas, utterly convincing as the fragile, status-obsessed society woman whose extravagance can’t mask her desperation, but director Martha Fiennes fails to tie the too-many strands together. It drags on too long and too slowly to really enthral.

Kristin Scott Thomas is marvellous but director Martha Fiennes fails to tie together all the remaining plot strands convincingly.